Samsung details ISOCELL 2.0 for its next-gen camera sensors
Samsung’s ISOCELL image sensor lineup has done remarkably well in the last few years. Although it’s still behind Sony’s IMX sensors in terms of overall market share, the company’s 64MP and 108MP sensors have seen great adoption on budget and premium mid-range smartphones. The company refreshed its ISOCELL lineup last year with the introduction of five new sensors, including the showstopper 108MP ISOCELL HM2, 64MP ISOCELL GW3, and 48MP ISOCELL GM5. All sensors used a 0.7μm pixel size, but Samsung incorporated their ISOCELL Plus and Smart ISO technologies to compensate for the smaller pixel size. At the time, Samsung said they would be announcing a new pixel technology called ISOCELL 2.0 in their upcoming 0.7-micron sensors, which the company said would improve the light sensitivity by up to 12% over the ISOCELL Plus. Six months later, the company is finally detailing its new pixel technology.
Samsung promises enhanced light sensitivity and color fidelity with ISOCELL 2.0. Samsung says the current ISOCELL technology uses a metal grid to physically isolate each pixel. This is to reduce the light cross-talk between each pixel and produce images with vivid colors. But one of the cons of using metal is that it absorbs some of the incoming light, which leads to slight “optical loss”.
ISOCELL 2.0 addresses this issue by replacing the upper phase of the metal grid, which acts as a physical barrier between color filters, with a “new material”. Meanwhile, the lower portion of the barrier has been replaced by more reflective material. These new upgrades help minimizes the optical loss and increases the light sensitivity, Samsung says.
All of these changes allow Samsung to get the most out of the smaller 0.7-micron pixels and deliver improved low-light performance on its high megapixel count sensors. The ISOCELL 2.0 technology is expected to debut on the next range of ISOCELL sensors, but Samsung hasn’t detailed anything on that front yet. Last month, Samsung launched the new 50MP ISOCELL GN2 sensor with faster autofocus and improved low-light performance. However, it still uses the ISOCELL Plus pixel technology.